Senate and House foreign policy panels yesterday rejected a Carter administration proposal to permit the government sale of F-4 fighter-bombers to Turkey. The proposal was a key element in an administration package intended to repair strained relations with that North Atlantic Treaty Organization country.
The legislative action came following strong objection to the sale by pro-Greek lawmakers. Capitol sources said President Carter was told he would have to wage a personal battle to slavage his F-4 proposals. Although some lawmakers believed the chances of success were good, Carter reportedly declined to make the fight.
The Turkish decision was among the highlights [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] yesterday by the [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] Relations Subcommittee on Foreign Assistance and the House International Relations Committee [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] billion foreign military aid bill.
The committee deliberations on both sides of the Capitol showed a continuing drive by [WORD ILLEGIBLE] legislation to write their own foreign [WORDS ILLEGIBLE] into law, sometimes in [WORD ILLEGIBLE] to the [TEXT ILLEGIBLE] proposal that could have caused a halt to U.S. military aid to Korea.
William Gleysteen, deputy assistant secretary fo state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, conceded that the Korean attitude falls short of full cooperation with the probes but said the tougher proposal involved "great risks" and could lead to an "extremely dangerous" situation in U.S.-Korean relations. He suggested that the government of President Park Chung Hee might not cooperate in the bribery investigations even if the consequence would be a cutoff of U.S. aid.
Under the amendment adopted by the committee, Carter would have to report to Congress every 90 days on "the extent" of South Korean cooperation with the Justice Department investigation.
Rep. Donald Fraser (D-Minn.), chairman of a House investigation into Korean operations in the United States, said "I don't believe we're going to get" cooperation from Korea.
Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) said tehre are indications that "a number of Korean-Americans" are afraid to cooperate with congressional probes for fear that the safety of family members in Korea will be threatened.
On aid to Turkey, both Senate and House committees approved $175 million in military sales credits for 1978, which is $50 million more than the sum allowed in the present budget year. However this will not be enough to complete the procurement of 40 F-4 war planes under contracts previously approved by the executive branch.
Lawmakers suggested that Turkey could complete the purchase as a commercial tracsaction. However, the Turks are reported reluctant to do this for political reasons at home, and State Department officials fear a severe reaction against the congressional rejection of the government sale.
In other action on the aid bill yesterday:
The House committee deleted from the text the names of African "front-line" states to benefit from funds originally intended to aid a Rhodesian transition to majority rule on grounds of political sensitivity. However, the unit did not change the substance of its plan.
Both panels delete military sales credits planned for Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador and Guatamala, all of which have rejected U.S. miliary aid because of the Carter administration's human rights policies.
The Senate subcommittee shifted $10 million from military sales credit to Zaire to economic aid grants to that country, and voted to stop all aid and deliveries to Ethiopia.